Win $50,000: Bill Gates Foundation-NCPI digital payment mobile feature phone challenge

Looking for technology-based mobile phone international contests for startups with cash awards? This article provides details of a unique opportunity - a grand challenge to come up with a digital payment solution for mobile feature phones by participating in a global competition launched by a collaboration between National Payments Corporation of India, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and CIIE.CO.


National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) has teamed up with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and CIIE.CO (based at IIMA, Ahmedabad) to launch an interesting competitive tech grand challenge. Anybody, anywhere, whether an individual, a business enterprise, an organization or a start-up venture, can participate in the challenge, which is to create and develop a feature that would enable people to make digital payments through the United Payments Interface (UPI) on a mobile feature phone. As you know, such payments are currently easily possible on a smartphone, whereas on a feature phone it tends to be more difficult, not to mention that most people doing so are worried about the possibility of insecure transactions.

Eligibility criteria to participate in the feature phone challenge

Ideally, those who are already in the field of digital payments with the relevant expertise would be more likely to come up with the key to facing the challenge. Nevertheless, entries from anyone are welcome. What's more, it is not necessary that you should be a citizen of India. Individuals, companies, etc from all countries can participate in this challenge.

The type of the solution required for the feature phone challenge

The solution which you submit for the grand challenge is not just about great design and its potential to be feasible technically and business-wise. The official website states that what they are looking for is a simpler user interface than the current one which, at the same time, provides for easy transactions but with very high-end security features and also an automated dispute resolution. The list of specific requirements are as follows

  1. Mechanisms which will resolve issues in real-time.

  2. The varied aspects of the payment interface and workflows should be an improvement on the current ones.

  3. Features of bill payment should be smoothly integrated within the system.

  4. The P2P and merchant payment solutions should be enhanced.

  5. The security features should be enhanced with end-to-end encryption.

  6. Anything else that would be useful and essential for the user of a feature phone.

Prizes and benefits of the feature phone challenge

The winner of the mobile feature phone grand challenge will be awarded a cash prize of US$50,000. There are two additional cash prizes, with a second prize winner receiving US$30,000 and a third prize winner receiving US$20,000.

Furthermore, the top innovations will receive technical support from NCPI to pilot the solution and acceleration support will be provided by CIIE.CO's Bharat Inclusion Initiative.

It should be noted that winners will receive the prizes as per the policies of CIIE.CO and tax deductions will be applicable.

How to participate in the Gates-NCPI feature phone challenge

The application process is very simple, through an online process. Submit the online application for the grand challenge here by first filling up the basic details of your name, email ID and contact number and then proceed to the next step. Ensure, though, that you first read the terms and conditions thoroughly before submitting the application.

Important dates

Applications for the feature phone challenge were opened on 21st November 2019. The last date to submit the application is 12th January 2020.

There will be a 'Sandbox Introduction event' at NPCI on 11th February 2020. At this event, if you are one of the shortlisted start-ups, you will be given access to NPCI APIs to get an understanding of the technical requirements and start building the solutions you have come up with. Subsequently, between February and March 2020, you will be mentored and given continued support by NPCI's experts, so that you will be able to create the solution in a manner which can be demonstrated. The final showcasing of the solution will be pitched on 14th March 2020, followed by the announcement of the winners and a closing ceremony.

Contact information

Those interested in participating in the feature phone challenge can send their queries of any nature, including those related to the application process, via email at

Relevant websites:
Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation:

Best of luck!

Article by Vandana
Vandana is based in India with over 15 years experience as a freelance writer. Writing, no doubt, is her primary passion! Having learned the art of blogging from ISC, Vandana is enjoying the thrills of blogging, taking pleasure in sharing information & getting good pageviews at her various blogs.

Follow Vandana or read 1682 articles authored by Vandana

Related Articles

Tips on storing various electronic and digital products

Most of the people today find themselves surrounded by exceeding numbers of new electronic and digital gadgets. Also more often it happens that we are no longer interested in the old ones and this gives rise to the need of storing the old products securely and in a safe place so that they remain in good working conditions. In the following article I have come up with some useful tips for storing these important products that have become so part and parcel of our daily lives.

How to purchase a Digital Camera?

This article describes about the different tips which help you and give tips to buy a Digital Camera. Read this article to know more about Megapixel count, resolution, optical zoom lens, movie and sounds, how to set the exposure to get a correct and precise photograph, face detection technology. Also read about the Image stabilization and anti shake technology helps to take sharp photographs in movements and about the batteries.

Digital photograph publishing on World Wide Web

Whenever you are like me holding an photograph working laboratory in your agency makes up a bit much to protest. I purchased a $360 digital photographic camera, a four hundred buck color photograph printing machine and I was gear up for business concern. Just about I believed. I admitted dozens of impressions and filled up my disk drive up on moderately silly figures of all my children, neighbours, automobiles and duckies.

More articles: Digital


No responses found. Be the first to comment...

  • Do not include your name, "with regards" etc in the comment. Write detailed comment, relevant to the topic.
  • No HTML formatting and links to other web sites are allowed.
  • This is a strictly moderated site. Absolutely no spam allowed.
  • Name: